Faculty Fandom: Mike McFall
Mike McFall’s journey into entrepreneurship wasn’t just a career choice; it was a quest for survival.
McFall, Co-CEO of BIGGBY Coffee and a sought-after lecturer at the Center for Entrepreneurship, knew early on that he wasn’t made for a traditional career path.
“I most likely wasn’t employable in corporate America,” said McFall. “I had to create my own place in the world. Creating my own culture was very alluring to me.”
This desire lit the match that sparked a series of entrepreneurial moves, leading to the creation of BIGGBY coffee. Spoiler alert! His hard work pays off in the end. Today, more than 350 BIGGBY locations serve gourmet coffee in 13 states throughout the U.S., with average sales that blow the competition out of the water.
In 1996, McFall took a risk and founded Global Orange Development, the driving force behind the BIGGBY COFFEE franchise. Those 350 locations we mentioned earlier? Nearly all of those are owned and operated by franchisees. McFall hasn’t just been brewing coffee; he’s been cultivating a thriving community of entrepreneurs.
Throughout this journey, McFall has done one thing exceptionally well – he’s created a people-first, community-based culture that paves the way for success. “I have supported hundreds of people opening a business using the same model and brand,” says McFall. “I have witnessed mentalities that seem to work and those that don’t.”
When he’s not busy at BIGGBY, McFall has found a second home as a lecturer at the CFE. In tandem with fellow lecturer Brian Hayden and Erika Block, he co-teaches ENTR 410, Finding Your Venture. In the classroom, he seamlessly blends his passion for entrepreneurship with education.
When asked about working with students, he exclaims, “There is a vastness to their particular position in life. Everything is possible. Reminding them of the opportunity in front of them, through entrepreneurship or not, is such a nice opportunity. The students fill me with hope. They are smart, competent, and hardworking. It gives me great hope for the future.”
McFall’s knack for fostering a people-first, community-based culture has paved the way for both personal and collective success. Whether lecturing at the CFE or sharing wisdom with aspiring entrepreneurs, his story reminds us that people and culture are just as important to success as products and profits.
So, as you continue on your own entrepreneurial journey, take some advice from the man himself. “Sink into the classes,” McFall says, “and you will know if it feels right. The entrepreneurial spirit will serve you well in life no matter what course you take. Being an entrepreneur is not about creating a product and making money; it is about solving big problems in the world and bringing value.”